Tuesday, February 14, 2006

What Bright Side?

I am at a point in my life where I just feel like I have too much going on. I have a house that we are in the middle of renovating. I have 1.5 acres that need landscaping. I have an aromatherapy business that I would love to pursue full time but lack the resources to grow the business enough to where I can quit my job. Trying to do all of this without getting into massive debt is seeming virtually impossible.

I absolutely hate debt. Some people think its good but I detest it. I can honestly say that the only bill that I do not pay grudgingly is the mortgage. Every time I write a check for my student loans, I kick myself for not trying to get more grants while I was in school. I even hate paying my utility bills especially the unnecessary ones like cable, telephone, and internet. I have been vowing to improve my financial picture since we bought our first house. Anyone thinking about buying a house, be forewarned. You will be perpetually broke. The house is always going to need something. Our first house was brand new but, within the first month, we had sunk $1,000 on a new fridge and having an alarm system installed. It never ends.

I've heard people console themselves by saying that they are grateful that they have the money to pay their bills. Somehow, telling myself that does nothing to make me feel better. I call it trying to look on the bright side when there really is no bright side. It's like when people die and their family members and friends say stuff like "at least he died doing what he loved" or "at least he didn't suffer" HUH? I have told my husband not to worry. If he goes before I do, those hollow words of "consolation" will not escape my lips. And if anyone says that to me, they will be sorry they opened their mouths. Our society's obsession with putting a smiley face on everything is simply ridiculous. If someone has died, it is OK to be sad. If you don't have enough money, it is OK to be mad.

I have started to read a book called the "Energy of Money" by Maria Nemeth. She states that some of us get into a financial rut where we repeat the same behaviors over and over again with money. That statement struck a chord with me because for the last few years I have been trying to maintain a certain balance in one of my accounts. I have a bill paying account, a savings account, and a third account that I have been trying to turn into an emergency fund. Over the years, I have built a cushion (money that is in the account, but is not reflected in my transaction log) into this account of well over $1000. I allow myself to use this account for miscellaneous needs as long as the balance does not fall below the cushion amount. Needless to say, I have not been able to use this account without significantly dipping into the cushion for the last 5 years or so. It is one of the many banes of my existence. I don't open the statements when they come because I know how disappointed I will be that I have allowed myself to raid the account when I should not.

So, I have resolved this year to fix that. My plan for this year is to only use that account for gas, groceries, and emergencies. This account has pretty much been my whenever I feel like shopping account (which has been a lot lately). I certainly don't need many of the things that I buy. My hope is that by the end of the year, I will have enough money to buy help fund the house renovation or pay off the credit card (Thank goodness we only have one). I watch those home renovation shows (perhaps too much) and always wonder how those people got the money for all those expensive renovations.

No comments: